WATCH | UKZN auditorium razed, adding to R31m damage already caused in protests
Police are investigating a case of arson after an auditorium at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Edgewood campus went up in flames on Wednesday evening.
In a statement on Thursday, the university’s vice-chancellor, Prof Nana Poku, said the institution would leave no stone unturned in efforts to find those responsible.
He said the university was shocked by the incident, particularly after student uprisings had subsided after almost a month of protest which caused damage of about R31m.
“There have been no disruptions or protests in recent weeks; and the protest that we had, though highly hyperbolic and destructive, was mercifully short-lived with a little over a week of the academic programme lost.
“But make no mistake, this violence was neither random nor pointless,” he said. “There remain factions within the university determined to turn the clock back - to make corrupt practices, parasitic behaviour and mired systems work for individuals and groups at the expense of UKZN’s mission,” he said.
Poku said the university had been in contact with the premier's office which offered to help investigations.
“The premier of KZN, Sihle Zikalala, has offered to help us with a specialist forensic team and additional police and investigative resources to root out the parasitic criminal elements within our midst,” said Poku.
Police spokesperson Col Thembeka Mbele said a case of arson had been opened at Pinetown police station.
“We confirm the incident that took place last night at 7pm at Edgewood College campus where auditorium and lecture venues were allegedly set alight by unknown people,” said Mbele.
The campus remains open and no injuries or fatalities were reported.